Just for fun, I like to have pretty and interesting pictures on my phone.

Question: How can I determine whether or not a mobile phone background image is appropriate?

As I learned from my earlier question (If statues are haram, why are there statues in Muslim-majority cities?), tasweer, or picture making, is considered haram, but to what extent is still unclear to me. It's listed as a major sin by Imam Shamsu ed-Deen Dhahabi (48-th on the list of 70 major sins). However, my Muslim friends don't seem to care about this (and, like with statues, it's not hard to find images in Muslim-majority cities; e.g. put [city name] billboard into Google Images).

There seems to be a lot of nuance to this: (a) whether or not one should care at all; (b) making pictures vs. merely viewing the pictures; (c) whether the images might be viewed as promoting haram acts; (d) the images being electronic (cf. Can I read Qur'an from a monitor when I don't have wudu?).

Here are some examples (which I randomly downloaded from the Internet at some point):

  • A drawing of a silhouette of a woman decorated in flowers:

    Woman silhouette

  • A drawing of Jack Frost (from Rise of the Guardians) and Elsa (from Frozen) sharing a tender moment:

    Jack Frost and Elsa

  • A drawing of a punky-looking, tattooed Asian woman:

    tattooed woman

(I also have unproblematic images, e.g., photos of flowers.) I'm not after an answer limited to these images alone, but a general method for determining if an image is appropriate.

  • Is it appropriate to look at (or be in visibility publicly) real objects (or people, in your examples) in that particular scene/posture?
    – ozbek
    Nov 2 '16 at 8:44


Actually if you are a brother you really shouldn't have such images at all (of people -either male or female) - this can create fitnah for yourself - so if i was you i would try to avoid it.

If you are a sister however, this can also create fitnah - so i would also recommend not to have such images on your phone.

These pictures are however quite sexual (im a female btw and i dont have lesbian tendencies).Even if some arent sexual, you should know that the non-muslims have different agendas to us - they dont focus on hayya (shyness) and so by looking at these pictures casually you may lose your hayya and look at real women without hayya and therefore you might not act modestly towards them but rather casually! This then creates a huge fitnah!

It should be noted that matters pertaining to the photography of animate objects is a matter of ikthilaaf - the safer opinion would be to opt out but there is valid support on both sides. Anyways.

a) Even if your friends dont care, you should, if these friends of yours arent helping you get closer to Allah then these may bring you closer to jahanam this is not the friendship you want to have! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnBIeWCvqzY

b)we aren't allowed to make pictures but we are allowed to view them (so long as these arent inappropriate - especially if they are of people - same sex or not this can create fitnah Allah tells us to lower our gaze!

24:30 Tell the believing men to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts. That is purer for them. Indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what they do.

24:31 And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except that which [necessarily] appears thereof and to wrap [a portion of] their headcovers over their chests and not expose their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands' fathers, their sons, their husbands' sons, their brothers, their brothers' sons, their sisters' sons, their women, that which their right hands possess, or those male attendants having no physical desire, or children who are not yet aware of the private aspects of women. And let them not stamp their feet to make known what they conceal of their adornment. And turn to Allah in repentance, all of you, O believers, that you might succeed.

c)if images are promoting haram acts try not to look at them

d)if the images are electronic and promote haram things still try not to look at them but you can look at images. For example, if you see a cat picture and your immediate reaction is "aw" or "subhanallah" etc. thats fine you can look at these pictures electronic or not

e) Yes i believe you can read the Quran without wudu on electronic devices such as a phone laptop etc. https://islamqa.info/en/106961

And Allah knows best

  • It is a very significant point as you said "and so by looking at these pictures casually you may lose your hayya and look at real women without hayya and therefore you might not act modestly towards them but rather casually!". On the other hand, watching such pictures would be led in assuming them as real scenes (unwanted, automatically), then it would make negative/sin feeling in you. Nov 3 '16 at 6:34

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